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The overuse of cigarette smoking is an issue I run into with my own writing all the time, especially when I'm trying to show a character thinking or deliberating or getting weighed down by something. It's a good, real-time action tool to pull the narrative out of the character's head and back into the immediate. It says something about the character, the same way pouring a fifth glass of wine or lighting a joint does. And just like anything else (in fiction or in real life) it's subject to abuse. Whether or not the type of character being written about would actually smoke, or smoke as much, in real life, says more (or less) about the writing and the writer. I'd love to read a story about a group of chain-smoking pulmonologists(?). These days, smoking carries more weight than it did back in the day, I guess.

Herb von Tippins

I totally agree about smoking. At one time it was cool, but 3 million cliches later, it's annoyingly trite.

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